Should I sell my Mac Pro (early 2008) for a MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by CFoss, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. CFoss, Apr 17, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011

    CFoss macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #1
    I've been using my computer for the past three years. It's been doing great with my regular Logic Studio sessions and my occasional game (Team Fortress 2). However, I'm starting to feel like it's hitting its limits. The EastWest/Quantum Leap products not only take a long time to load, but I find that Logic Pro is consistently overloading. I'm pretty sure it's the CPU reaching its limit. I tried to upgrade the RAM to fix the problem (which helped immensely), but it was a short term solution. Aka it still doesn't fix the problems in Logic Studio.

    Current Specs:
    Intel Xeon 2.8 GHz Quad-Core
    14 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM RAM
    nVidia 8800 GT
    750 GB 7200 RPM HDD (OS-X)
    1 TB 7200 RPM HDD (EWQL Library)

    I noticed that I'm also out and about a lot more often these days. So here's the deal: I'm debating on selling my Mac Pro and purchasing an i7 2.2 Quad-Core MacBook Pro. According to Geekbench, the i7 MacBook Pro is almost twice as fast as my current Mac Pro. This also allows me to take my studio with me. Well, almost.

    Should I do that? How much do you think I could get off of it? Or should I try and stick with it a little longer? If I should stay with it longer, do you recommend adding a Solid State Drive to the Mac Pro? Or would upgrades to it from here on out be redundant? And would you have any recommendations on what SSD to get?
     
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #2
    Aside the processor, your machine has HUGE advantages over a Macbook Pro. I'm pretty sure the graphics card you have now is still faster than a MBP graphics card...

    Upgrade that GPU to a 5870 and add a second CPU and you'll blow any MBP out of the water.

    I'm not really sure a MBP will help a huge amount as the MBP is still a quad core. Going to 8 cores will be far better than getting a MBP.
     
  3. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #3
    Whoa, wait, I can add another CPU to my Mac Pro?
     
  4. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    1 Finite Place
    #4
    If your Mac Pro is the 2008 model it should be an 8-Core system, so you already have two CPUs. You may be able to pick up faster CPUs and swap out the current ones.

    Something to consider while the new MBP may be in line as far as raw processing power compared to your macpro; is that expandability with expansion ports, multiple graphics cards, data and storage drives... if thats a non-issue than by all means get the new MBP as they are quite powerful. I my self used to have a 2008 Mac Pro but am satisfied with the i7 MBP.

    Also if internal hardware upgrades dont matter to you the MBP will be your best bet, but if you need to add expansion ports or cards the Mac Pro be be a better machine to keep.
     
  5. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #5
    It's a single CPU. I didn't realize the second slot came on the motherboard regardless of that.

    Graphics has become less of a concern. As long as I can run VALVe games, I'm quite content. It's storage space I'm worried about. A 256 GB SSD doesn't leave much space. I suppose an external Thunderbolt drive might be an option, but that's more an assumption.
     
  6. cosmos, Apr 18, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011

    cosmos macrumors regular

    cosmos

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #6
    Maybe this...

    You may only have one CPU as that was the entry level option IIRC. Since you are a gamer, I would look into upgrading your video with the 5870 as Barefeats has confirmed that it will work fine.

    You can also add an SSD as either a boot drive or as additional storage. If you are currently using the four drive bays, you can add the SSD to one of the Superdrive bays. Check out Macsales.com for both the SSD and the mounting bracket you will need for either install.

    One other thing you could try is to defragment your current hard drive if it is highly fragmented to improve access speed with what you already use.

    I can guarantee that even a Macbook Pro will not come close for gaming as it will still lack a better video card even if you add an SSD.
     
  7. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #7
    Nope. 2008's were 4 core and 8 core. OP says he has one of the 4 core ones.

    However, all 2008's had a second CPU slot no matter what, so you can always add a second CPU.


    What? No, no need to defrag. Those utilities cost money, don't make a huge difference, and I've had them kill data.

    Rest of the advice was good though.
     
  8. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #8
    So how difficult is it to add the other CPU? I assume I just purchase an identical CPU as the one in my computer? And where can I find an Intel Xeon 2.8 GHz Quad-Core in today's stores?
     
  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #9
    Actually, the base config was an 8-core (dual processor), but it was also available as a quad-core (single processor) if custom ordered that way.

    The OP can theoretically add a second E5462 (C0 stepping, or SLANT) to make the machine an 8-core. The CPU itself is about $300 these days on eBay, but you'd also need the correct heatsink (Apple part number 076-1303), which runs about $200.

    I'm not quite sure how well Logic utilizes actual CPU cores (I've never used it; not an audio guy) though.
     
  10. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #10
    Is it difficult to upgrade? Are there any installation videos?
     
  11. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #11
    $500 for a CPU upgrade, $350 for a video card upgrade and $600 for an SSD upgrade is a lot of money to keep a computer alive. Considering the OP has use of a portable system I'd recommend selling now and taking the proceeds plus the $1450 or so we're talking about for upgrading and buying a MBP. You can easily upgrade the ram to 8g now for less than $100. The 16g upgrade is still pricey but that should drop in the next year or so quite a bit.
     
  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #12
    I don't think the OP needs an SSD....

    With just the CPU upgrade his Mac Pro would be way faster than even a top end MBP. Why would the OP want to buy a slower MBP? Logic is a core hungry app. 8 cores would perform significantly better than a 4 core Macbook Pro.

    The 2008's are great great machines that still command a premium, with way faster graphics performance than a Macbook Pro, and far better expandability. Eventually the OP will need to upgrade, but I don't think we're at that point yet...
     
  13. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #13
    I do like the idea of a SSD in either my Mac Pro or MacBook Pro. The GPU in my Mac Pro is probably equal, if not better than the current MacBook Pro. So the thing that matters most is the CPU. If I can upgrade the Mac Pro by adding another CPU, then it might be better to just stick with it. Otherwise, I should sell it for the portability of a MacBook Pro.
     
  14. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
  15. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #15
    Well, I suppose if you really wanted an SSD you're gonna be paying for it either way.

    And your current GPU is actually better than what you would get in a new MBP. The Radeon 6750M GPU that's offered on the top-end MBPs is roughly equivalent to the 6570 desktop part (which is a $79 budget CPU). Aside from a more modern feature set, I would imagine even a 4-year desktop GPU like the 8800 GT would still smoke it, as it has significantly more processing power.

    While I don't know exactly what level of work you do in Logic, I would imagine you'd be somewhat limited in what you can actually accomplish with a mobile setup, depending on what type of peripherals you need to get the job done.

    From the sound of it (SSD aside), it seems like adding the additional CPU could breathe some new life into your machine. It's not extremely difficult to do, but you do need a freakishly long 3mm hex screwdriver to fasten/remove the heatsink bolts (there are 4 bolts in total). I'm pretty sure I have the service manual to the 2008 MP sitting sitting around on a PDF somewhere. If you PM me, I should be able to pull up the necessary pages.

    And of course, this would be all DO AT YOUR OWN RISK stuff, especially if your machine is still covered under AppleCare.
     
  16. CFoss thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #16
    My Apple Care expired around a month or three ago, so I suppose there's no worry there. Ohhhh boy, it looks complicated though. I'm not worried about removing most of the components... it's when it comes to the CPU itself that it starts to get complicated.

    On the plus side, being able to say that I've replaced the CPU on my Mac Pro would be great for my resume for where I want to work.
     
  17. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #17
    Sent you a PM.

    And as you'll see, it's actually not all that hard to install a second CPU. The 2008s use standard CPU packages (not custom lidless ones like the 2009 models did) and you really don't need to remove much to get to the CPU sockets. The 3.2GHz CPUs are the tricky ones, because they use a silver thermal compound that can't be exposed to the air for more than 30 minutes.

    But no matter what, make sure you use a E5462 chip with the C0 stepping ("SLANT" spec code) and not the E0 version ("SLBBN" spec code). The 2008's firmware isn't compatible with the later.

    Good luck!
     
  18. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #19
  19. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #20
    Logic uses multiple cores very well. So you would definitely benefit from adding a second CPU, if possible. That would probably make a better machine than the new quad core MBP.

    Also, putting your samples on a SSD is ideal. It will make your EWQL products load a lot faster, and your system will be able to handle a much higher workload. Alternatively you can store your samples on a RAID 0 volume or split the different libraries up over separate physical hard drives. EWQLSO for example, works best if each section is stored on a dedicated drive, i.e. strings on one, woodwinds on another etc. Even though a big amount of the samples are loaded into RAM, they stream the rest from the HDs. I would also check how much RAM your sample libraries are actually using when you have loaded all your instruments. It's possible that you would benefit from even more RAM. Check Activity Monitor as you load you samples to see what's going on.

    Also play with your EWQL instrument settings. The more samples being used in a project, the higher the Engine Level should be. The more samples that are loaded, the more seeking and loading of samples goes on in the background; thus, the Engine Level needs to be higher.

    To optimize your system for EWQL products, read section 5 'Performance' here: http://www.soundsonline.com/Support/knowledgebase

    If you aren't in an extreme need to upgrade, I would keep your current system until the next Mac Pro update comes along. And if you buy one or more SSDs, they can just transfer over to the new system. Alternatively, if you have lots of cash, you can buy a MBP now and complement it with a new Mac Pro later next year. Thunderbolt will be great in the future for audio guys as it will allow for extremely fast external RAID and SSD enclosures so you can take all your heavy sample libraries with you on the road.

    Good luck!
     
  20. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #21
    If you don't need portability don't get a laptop. Pretty simple. Performance should not be a consideration really, 2 completely differing purposes and laptops are always slower in real world vs. synthetic benchmarks. They idle at well below their respective clock speeds (to keep heat down).
     

Share This Page